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Outrage Over LGBTQ+ Inclusion in Macy's Parade 'Desperate Plea For Attention,' GLAAD Says

GLAAD Stands Against One Million Moms
Images: Alberto Rodriguez/Variety via Getty Images; Shutterstock

“Brands have long learned that these are not concerned moms, but dedicated anti-LGBTQ activists," GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis said of the petition and its backers.

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GLAAD has voiced strong support for LGBTQ+ representation in the 97th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in response to a petition by One Million Moms, a division of the American Family Association. The petition, which has now accumulated fewer than 30,000 signatures, protests the inclusion of LGBTQ+ performers, describing next week’s parade as a “non-binary and transgender extravaganza.”

Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, criticized the petition and its backers.

LGBTQ performers in the Thanksgiving Day parade are nothing new, and neither are the desperate pleas for attention and random attacks against inclusion from the One Million Moms project of designated hate group American Family Association,” Ellis told The Advocate in a statement. “Brands have long learned that these are not concerned moms, but dedicated anti-LGBTQ activists.”

The American Family Association, identified as an anti-LGBTQ+ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, supports One Million Moms. The petition allows for multiple entries from the same individuals, raising doubts about the number of unique signatories. Despite its name, One Million Moms has a relatively small social media following, evidenced by its X, formerly Twitter, account, which has just over 4,000 followers.

Related: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Will Be ’Nonbinary and Transgender Extravaganza,’ Says One Million Moms

The group’s high-profile setbacks include a situation in December 2019 involving a failed protest against the Hallmark Channel and its advertisements that included a gay couple. Since then, Hallmark, Lifetime and Netflix have enhanced their representation of LGBTQ+ characters and narratives, notably in well-received, popular, and recurring holiday films.

GLAAD’s data supports the wide public acceptance of LGBTQ+ inclusion. Its recent polling shows approximately 75 percent of non-LGBTQ+ Americans are comfortable with LGBTQ+ representation in advertisements.

At the end of October, GLAAD and IPSOS unveiled a public opinion survey revealing that Americans are almost twice as likely to support companies facing backlash for supporting the LGBTQ+ community than the companies’ detractors. The poll also found that 74 percent of Americans feel neutral or positively influenced when they learn a company provides Pride-themed merchandise.

CNBC reports that around 70 percent of adults favor LGBTQ-inclusive corporate practices. Furthermore, a December 2022 report by GLAAD and the Edelman Trust Institute found that Americans support brands that advocate for LGBTQ+ rights.

The hate group’s objections centered around specific performers, including nonbinary Broadway artist Alex Newell, who uses all pronouns and is known for roles like Lulu in Shucked, and Justin David Sullivan, who uses he/she/they pronouns and stars in & Juliet. The petition also referred to past performances by Kim Petras, a transgender woman, and Grammy performances by Petras and Sam Smith, who is nonbinary, as points of concern.

However, Ellis underscored the importance of representation.

“LGBTQ people are already welcome in living rooms and around the Thanksgiving table as our family, friends, and neighbors,” she said. “Including transgender and gender-nonconforming performers, their incredible talents and unstoppable joy shows viewers everywhere that all are welcome, including in our country’s great traditions and stages. LGBTQ people and the growing acceptance among supermajorities of Americans are blessings we can all be grateful for.

The Advocate contacted Macy’s, which didn’t address the controversy directly, but a spokesperson responded with a statement.

“For nearly 100 years, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has showcased the very best in entertainment, delighting Americans everywhere with the most popular music acts, the best of Broadway, our country’s finest marching bands and dance teams, and giant balloons and floats that capture your imagination,” the Macy’s spokesperson wrote. ‘Every performer and volunteer is there with one mission — to entertain millions of spectators and kick off the holiday season. We look forward to celebrating this iconic Thanksgiving tradition again next week."

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Christopher Wiggins

Christopher Wiggins is a senior national reporter for The Advocate. He has a rich career in storytelling and highlighting underrepresented voices. Growing up in a bilingual household in Germany, his German mother and U.S. Army father exposed him to diverse cultures early on, influencing his appreciation for varied perspectives and communication. His work in Washington, D.C., primarily covers the nexus of public policy, politics, law, and LGBTQ+ issues. Wiggins' reporting focuses on revealing lesser-known stories within the LGBTQ+ community. Key moments in his career include traveling with Vice President Kamala Harris and interviewing her in the West Wing about LGBTQ+ support. In addition to his national and political reporting, Wiggins represents The Advocate in the White House Press Pool and is a member of several professional journalistic organizations, including the White House Correspondents’ Association, Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists, and Society of Professional Journalists. His involvement in these groups highlights his commitment to ethical journalism and excellence in the field. Follow him on X/Twitter @CWNewser (https://twitter.com/CWNewser) and Threads @CWNewserDC (https://www.threads.net/@cwnewserdc).
Christopher Wiggins is a senior national reporter for The Advocate. He has a rich career in storytelling and highlighting underrepresented voices. Growing up in a bilingual household in Germany, his German mother and U.S. Army father exposed him to diverse cultures early on, influencing his appreciation for varied perspectives and communication. His work in Washington, D.C., primarily covers the nexus of public policy, politics, law, and LGBTQ+ issues. Wiggins' reporting focuses on revealing lesser-known stories within the LGBTQ+ community. Key moments in his career include traveling with Vice President Kamala Harris and interviewing her in the West Wing about LGBTQ+ support. In addition to his national and political reporting, Wiggins represents The Advocate in the White House Press Pool and is a member of several professional journalistic organizations, including the White House Correspondents’ Association, Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists, and Society of Professional Journalists. His involvement in these groups highlights his commitment to ethical journalism and excellence in the field. Follow him on X/Twitter @CWNewser (https://twitter.com/CWNewser) and Threads @CWNewserDC (https://www.threads.net/@cwnewserdc).